Greater Manchester Police is reviewing thousands of child protection cases that have potentially fallen through the net of its troubled new IT system.
The news emerged on the day inspectors issued their long-awaited report into the iOPS network , uncovering a ‘dramatic’ drop in safeguarding referrals that had occurred after it was launched last summer.
In one district it found just 28pc of cases involving potential risk to children had been sent on to social services, while also finding the number of high-risk domestic violence incidents passed to safeguarding teams had suddenly halved in many areas.
The report noted nearly 700 domestic abuse cases that had been sitting in a queue without being risk-assessed, some of them for three months.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate found that while GMP had a plan to bring down the backlog of crime reports that had built up by the time they visited in October, the force did not have a ‘full understanding’ of the risks and threats the queue contained, meaning vulnerable people in the meantime were exposed to ‘potential risk of harm’.
While GMP were putting new processes in, there was ‘no plan’ at that stage to go back and check all relevant incidents involving at-risk vulnerable children that had been passed on to child protection, it found.
Today Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said those cases had subsequently been reviewed by the force, however – a process that is expected to be complete by the end of the week.
Asked how many had had to be looked at, he initially declined to discuss numbers, but when pushed on whether it ran into the ‘hundreds’, he admitted: “More than that.”
Officers – and senior safeguarding officials – repeatedly warned after the introduction of iOPS last July that vulnerable people could potentially be put at risk thanks to problems with the system.
All ten of the region’s directors of children’s services wrote to the force later at the end of August highlighting safeguarding concerns, but GMP has repeatedly insisted that ‘first and foremost we do not accept that children are at risk as a result of our new system’.
Read the full story here: (Manchester Evening News)